“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ― Anaïs Nin, The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 1: 1931-1934
Before Merlin arrived in our lives, my garden was just a garden. Well, it was more than that, but his presence marked a point in which the garden became a canvas, a place where I could be more myself and more of something I had yet to consider. For the first time, I entertained the notion that I was an artist. Nature began to teach me color and proportion, shadow and light, and showed me a world with endless variety. And Merlin taught me, along with our other dogs, that without heart, the other means nothing.
Friends are like that. They give us validation by how they listen. They give us courage by how they teach. By mirroring to us the poignant elements of our vulnerability, and rallying us to be our braver, more creative self, they become the richest part of our existence. Even in the face of betrayal, friendship offers another lesson, that we cannot know light without having experienced the dark.
Tonight I walk in Merlin’s Garden and I am filled with awe — not by what I have done, but by what the garden has done in spite of me. The more I learn, the less I feel I know. I watch two mourning doves sit quietly beside a baby dove, and I know they lay in wait until the young one finally flies. Friends do that too. They sit beside us on one of those days when we are filled with doubt and trepidation and tell us we can do it.
We are better people for the friends we have. They are the true treasures of our lives. Like the garden, they remind us of the richer possibility of who we are.